Eye of the Storm

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Goes Ashore -- 252300Z update


At 7 PM EDT, the center of Hurricane Katrina was at 25.9 North 80.1 West, located on the coast between Hallandale Beach and Miami Beach. Movement is to the west at 6 mph. Maximum sustained winds are up to 80 mph and minimum central pressure is down to 985 millibars ( 29.09").

Hurricane Katrina Intermediate Advisory Number 9A

Selected comments from the 5 PM discussion, not the full synopsis since some of the commments are overtaken by events:

Katrina is expected to move slightly south of due west for the next 12 hours. The ridge that currently lies to the north of Katrina and is dictating her current motion is expected to be partially eroded, which would cause the hurricane to turn to the north after 48 hours. As has been the case for the past couple of days, the models diverge after that. The GFS model continues to be the eastern-most of the bunch, featuring a sharp northeast turn that brings the storm back ashore in the vicinity of Yankeetown (more or less the point where panhandle meets peninsula). The GFDL and GFDN models represent the western edge of the spectrum as they bring Katrina ashore in Alabama and Louisiana respectively. Given the GFDL's and GFDN's poor performance in the recent short term, their forecasts are given less weight, a result of that is the official track forecast being east of the model consensus.

Once Katrina returns to the Gulf of Mexico, conditions are expected to be favorable for re-strengthening. The official forecast brings Katrina to 105 mph winds by time of the second landfall.

Hurricane Katrina Discussion Number 9

Official Forecast track


In a mixed blessing for Florida, Katrina is taking a short-cut track across the southern Peninsula. The track should slightly reduce rain-fall totals in the populated areas of the west coast. The downside from the track is that allows Katrina to hold more of her strength before re-entering the Gulf of Mexico.

The 5 PM intensity forecast is in line with the concerns I have been expressing for a significant hurricane to affect the Panhandle. My area of concern continues to extend from Mobile to St Marks, with the area of highest concern extending from Panama City Beach to Appalachicola.

Residents in those areas should be considering their preparations for a strong category two hurricane. If Katrina heads further west, enabling her to get west of my high concern area, then she will be able to intensify beyond that to a category three storm like Dennis.

For coastal residents of the Panhandle, plan for a 'working weekend' as all preparations should be completed by Sunday afternoon. Given the fragility of electrical power, it would be a good idea to beat the rush and do your battery/flashlight/food shopping tomorrow. After all, despite Dennis making landfall in Pensacola, power was lost in Tallahasse.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, there are two upper-air 'surveillance' flights going on that are collecting observations for the computer models' forecasts tonight. The results of those forecasts will be reflected in tomorrow morning's 5 AM advisory package.


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